Miscommunication led to Wal-Mart evacuation, authorities say

PORT ANGELES — Investigators say it was likely a miscommunication that led to the evacuation of Wal-Mart’s huge department store Tuesday evening when employees reported chemical odors coming from a drain inside the store.

Initial reports suggested an unidentified man was seen near the drain before the smell was discovered.

But after interviewing employees and witnesses, investigators from the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department learned that a store employee without managerial knowledge issued a work order for a plugged drain in the vicinity of the stench, Sgt. Dave Fontenot said Wednesday.

Videotapes of the area indicate nobody tampered with the drain, he said.

“There is no threat to public safety,” said Fontenot after the work order was confirmed and the scene was re-checked and cleared by Clallam County Fire District No. 2

“It seems to be just a miscommunication,” he said.

Early evening evacuation

Wal-Mart, on U.S. Highway 101 east of Port Angeles, evacuated staff and shoppers from the store about 7 p.m. Tuesday as a precaution after suspecting a chemical odor was emanating from the drain. The smell was noticed at about the same time the man was reportedly seen near the drain.

Some employees went home while others waited outside in the cold as a hazardous materials team investigated the store.

More in News

Report: Washington unemployment rate lowest in 42 years

A recent report shows Washington’s unemployment rate… Continue reading

Park entrance free on Saturday

Day-use entrance fees will be waived Saturday at state parks and Olympic… Continue reading

Port Angeles to study housing needs

The Port Angeles City Council has hired a La… Continue reading

State Patrol to focus on distracted driving this weekend

State Patrol troopers will conduct a statewide emphasis on distracted… Continue reading

Paraeducators seek higher wages from Port Angeles School District

Members of the Port Angeles Paraeducator Association rallied outside… Continue reading

Walk Run Hope honors organizers’ parents

Walk Run Hope 2018 on Saturday will raise funds for… Continue reading

Regenerative ranching topic of lecture

Doniga Markegard, owner of Markegard Family Grass-Fed, will present a… Continue reading

NEWS BRIEFS: Fall programs set for QUUF … and other items

Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has announced its fall 2018… Continue reading

Most Read